Barker returns from injury, helps women's program

Barker returns from injury, helps women's program

GREENSBORO -- Senior Latrese Barker had fun in front of her peers Saturday at the annual Aggie Invitational held at A&T’s Irwin Belk Track.

Track was not always fun for Barker, however. Barker transferred to North Carolina A&T from the University of Charlotte in the fall of 2013. After returning from NCAA nationals with her 49ers 400 meter relay her sophomore year, she found out that she had broken a bone in a foot, which caused her to have surgery. Barker was out for a year and even went through a period where she could not walk for six months.

Barker had been extremely successful with the 49ers, earning conference championship in the 400 meter relay. She also had a third-place finish in the 100 at the 2012 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championships when she ran a personal-best 11.85 (w). She had a second-place finish during the Atlantic 10 indoor championships the same year by running the women’s 60 in 7.61. Then the injury came.

“My hunger kept me motivated,” said Barker. “I had tasted a bit of success, being a conference champion and then going all the way to nationals. I wanted more of that. That’s the only thing I thought about from the day I got home from surgery.”

Barker came back from the surgery, decided to start anew at A&T and has been a valuable part of the resurgent A&T women’s track and field program. “Coach (Duane Ross) is a really great coach and I wanted to be under his program,” said Barker.

Last season she helped the 400 meter relay team at A&T finish fourth at the MEAC outdoor championships. At last year’s Aggie Invitational she posted her career-best 100 as an Aggie as she finished in 12.03.

Barker recorded 10 top-5 finishes during her career as an Aggie. She graduated in December with a degree in sociology and is now a graduate student in the sports administration program.  After graduate schools she plans to get into coaching at the collegiate level.

“I’m going to miss the team,” said Barker. “We have a lot of fun out here and of course because I’m the oldest I look at them as my babies. We’ve build friendships so I know we’ll always be in touch but I’ll still miss them.”

When it comes to the babies, Barker would like to leave these words of encouragement: “Stay humble, always put the work in because you get out what you put in, especially in this sport.”